Zambia’s Former President Rupiah Banda is Dead

Zambia's Former President Rupiah Banda is Dead (News Central TV)

Rupiah Banda, who served as president of Zambia from 2008 and 2011, died Friday evening in the capital Lusaka at age 85.

Banda died after a protracted battle with colon cancer. His son Andrew confirmed the former leader’s death, saying, “He is gone.”

“He died around 1900 hours today,” said Andrew, Banda’s second eldest child, confirming the death.

Banda, Zambia’s fourth president who was in power from 2008 to 2011, was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and had been receiving medical attention.

He held higher-ranking diplomatic positions under first president Kenneth Kaunda before being eventually appointed as a vice president in 2006 by then President Levy Mwanawasa.

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He took over the presidential reins in mid-2008 in an acting capacity when Mwanawasa suffered a stroke. Banda then narrowly won October elections the same year on a ruling party ticket. In September 2011, he was trounced by opposition leader Michael Sata.

His tenure was however fraught with allegations of graft and in 2013, Zambia’s parliament stripped Banda of immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for investigators to arrest him for corruption-related offences.

The former president stood accused of abuse of office, corrupt acquisition of public property and misappropriation of public funds involving more than $11 million during his tenure as president, but was never convicted in a court of law and didn’t serve time in jail.

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